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Get to know an Astroscale U.S. Intern: Tyler Gaston

By: Astroscale U.S.
Posted August 14th, 2023 Posted in Blog

Introduce yourself! Where did you grow up?

I was born in Boulder but I grew up in Austin. I fell in love with snowboarding on family trips to Colorado and so I decided it would be a great place to come for undergrad. The snowboarding culture and the cooler weather really grabbed me.

What is your role at Astroscale?

Im the Modeling and Simulation Intern on the RPO team developing simulation tools for LEXI. Day to day I do a lot of coding, mostly in Python. A lot of my work this summer has been adding performance evaluation tools for the Rendezvous and Docking (RvD) simulation.  

Where do you go to college? What do you study?

For my undergrad I went to CU Boulder to study Aerospace Engineering. Now I’m in graduate school there studying Astrodynamics.

What originally sparked your interest in space?

I had an astronomy class in high school with a teacher who was extremely passionate about space and that sparked a lot of interest for me. I got a taste of aerospace in high school and decided that was what I wanted to study in college. I always thought I was going to end up in materials science but space interested me more.

Why did you choose to intern at Astroscale?

In my junior year of undergrad I did a research paper on orbital debris – that was kind of my first introduction to Astroscale and our mission. Around that time, Astroscale sponsored a Senior Design project at CU that was related to solving orbital debris. This kind of felt like the stars were aligning and I got to do a project senior year about orbital debris sponsored by Astroscale. I applied to the internship after that because it seemed like a good place to work and I liked the mission.

What has it been like coming back for a second year?

I think it’s hard to really do a ton meaningful work in the span of only a few months because of all the training and learning you have to start with. In the last few months of my first summer, I finally got the ball rolling so it was good to keep that going. Coming back for a second summer allowed me to get settled in quicker and understand where the company is at.

What has been the highlight of your internship so far?

The engineering side of me would say that I have really enjoyed coding in Python without all the pressure of coding for a class in college. The people-side of me really enjoys the culture of the team and hanging out in the Mezzanine on Thursdays during Social Hour.  

What are you looking forward to in the upcoming weeks?

A lot of the work I’ve been doing on LEXI performance evaluation and simulation has just been implemented. Now other people on the team will be able to use it and I’m looking forward to seeing if it actually helps them with their work.  

Who at Astroscale has been a great mentor to you and why?

The person who has worked the most with me this summer has been Ryan. He’s been really great. Sometimes as an intern you can feel like a fly on the wall – kind of like a pest always asking for help. But Ryan has been super great at making me feel apart of the team and highlighting the work I’ve done. 

Advice for recent college grads or potential interns?

I would say that my biggest piece of advice is not to let imposter syndrome take over. Don’t undervalue your abilities. A lot of the time recent grads feel like they don’t have what it takes, but you have to remember that the people that you’re working with have been doing it for 10-15 years. Not applying yourself is a mistake because it means you won’t grow.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

I do a lot of photography – astrophotography in particular. On weeknights I go home and hang out with my dog — a Golden Doodle named Bentley. Sometimes I’ll hop online and play some video games. On weekends I really try to get up in the mountains.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

I can’t speak on that matter because I’ve only seen Star Wars.